What exactly is COPD?

COPD, a disease that is little known to the public, is nevertheless one of the most common lung diseases worldwide. But what exactly is COPD, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?

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What is COPD?

COPD is a respiratory disease that affects around 6.8 million people in Germany. It is estimated that this figure will rise to up to 7.9 million by 2030.

The abbreviation stands for the English term "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease". This means "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease" or, in technical terms, "chronic obstructive bronchitis" (COB). The terms "chronic bronchitis" and "emphysema" are both associated with COPD:

COPD is usually associated with smoking or exposure to pollutants. Breathing in irritants inflames the bronchial tubes, thickens their walls and increases mucus production. In the long term, inflammation is responsible for the destruction of the pulmonary alveoli.

In Germany, smoking is the cause of COPD in 90% of cases, but it is not the only risk factor.

There are also other risk factors

  • Indoor and outdoor air pollution is the most common cause in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Exposure in the workplace, particularly in the mining, steel, construction and agricultural sectors (inhalation of coal dust)
  • Common lower respiratory tract infections in childhood.
  • Certain genetic factors have been reported, e.g. alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. This is a protein that protects the tissue during inflammation.

COPD is an active disease characterized by breathing problems. COPD patients usually have several symptoms.

The symptoms of COPD

  • Intermittent daily cough (chronic cough)
  • General respiratory distress, chronic respiratory failure
  • Panting
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Restrictions on physical capacities
  • Extended expiry time
  • Sleep disorders on the back
  • Blue coloration of the extremities and lips
  • Deformation of the fingers and nails
  • Etc.

The stages of COPD

There are various classifications of COPD stages. The most common is the spirometric classification of COPD. It is recognized by the High Health Authority (HAS). The spirometric classification is based on two indicators: "maximum expiratory volume per second" (FEV1) and vital capacity (CV).

Maximum expiratory volume per second (FEV1) = the volume of air exhaled during the first second of an exhalation after a deep breath.

Vital capacity (CV) = corresponds to the maximum volume of air in the lungs between inspiration and expiration.

We speak of COPD when the ratio between FEV1 and CV (FEV1 / CV) is less than 70%. Without disease, we lose at least 70% of the volume of our lungs in one second. The stages of COPD are then determined based on the relationship between the patient's FEV1 and their predicted FEV1. The predicted value is defined based on criteria such as age, gender, ethnicity, etc.

Stage 1 (mild): FEV1 ≥ 80% predicted value

Stadium 2 (mäßig): 50% ≤ FEV1 <80% prognostizierter Wert

Stadium 3 (schwer): 30% ≤ FEV1 <50% prognostizierter Wert

Stadium 4 (sehr schwer): FEV1 <30% prognostizierter Wert oder FEV1 <50% prognostizierter Wert (bei schwerem chronischem Atemversagen)

COPD treatment and management

It is not possible to cure COPD completely, but it is possible to slow down the progression of the disease and improve symptoms. Depending on the stage of the disease, treatment generally includes medication, airway rehabilitation, vaccination and oxygen treatment.

  • Taking medication: Medications such as corticosteroids and bronchodilators may be prescribed. In COPD, antibiotics may be administered in conjunction with a bacterial infection of the bronchial tubes.
  • Rehabilitation of the airways with a physiotherapist can help to drain secretions, relieve shortness of breath and improve exercise capacity.
  • It is advisable to be vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcus to avoid the risk of a lung infection. Infections are indeed aggravating factors for COPD.
  • Oxygen therapy is sometimes necessary for people with severe respiratory failure.

It is also important to stop smoking, avoid exposure to harmful substances and become active. Physical activity maintains the benefits of respiratory rehabilitation.

Maintain your physical activity thanks to TOPRO Step

It is important to avoid a sedentary lifestyle if you have COPD. Climbing stairs is a good way to exercise at home. However, it is common for people with COPD to have difficulty going up or down stairs. It is not uncommon to have to give up one floor of your home.

Faced with this problem, we often think of the electric stairlift. However, the electric stairlift encourages the person concerned to be passive. TOPRO Step is an alternative to the stairlift that allows you to climb the stairs yourself while ensuring your safety. Some of our patients suffer from COPD, such as Oddbjørn. Thanks to TOPRO Step, this former welder has regained his mobility on the stairs. He recommends TOPRO Step. Read Oddbjørn's story.

Oddbjørn with TOPRO Step

Why choose TOPRO Step?

Installation in 3 steps

To carry out an on-site inspection and receive a quote, make an appointment with us. Once you have accepted the quote, we will carry out the installation, which usually only takes a few hours. .

TÜV tested and certified

TOPRO Step is TÜV-tested and certified and meets all functional and safety requirements.

Adaptable to your staircase

TOPRO Step is designed so that it can be easily adapted to your staircase. It can be installed on straight stairs, curved stairs and stairs with a landing.

Fits perfectly in any home

Ask your health insurance company about the possibility of cost coverage or possible subsidies. Please note that these options are country-specific and individual.

Up to 5 years warranty

TOPRO Step means TOPRO quality. When you buy a TOPRO Step, you receive a guarantee of up to 5 years.

Over 2,000 satisfied users

We measure success by satisfied customers, which is our top priority. We already have over 4,000 satisfied users throughout Europe.

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Do you have any questions?

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+47 902 931 00
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We are happy to advise you

TOPRO Step Expert
+47 902 931 00
Monday - Friday
08:00 - 16:00 o'clock.

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